Falling as Usual, Spencer Rook
Publisher: Queerteen Press
Genre: YA, Contemporary, LGBT (G)
Length: 132 pages
“Are you ever going to ask him out? Or are you just going to keep staring and drooling while I try to talk to you?”
After a long break from reviewing I thought I’d start up again with a small item from one of my favourite publishers. Since I’m terrible at summing up books without providing numerous spoilers, I thought I’d instead give you the official blurb provided by Queerteen Press.
Reese is falling. For weeks his dreams have been plagued with the sensation of spiraling out of control. They were easy to ignore at first, but they’re becoming darker. He’s falling down a hole. There’s no light, and the darkness is pulling him deeper. Even if he lands, he knows there’s something waiting for him at the bottom. Something he isn’t sure he wants to see.
At home, his mother clashes with him every chance she gets. At school, his best friend Viv keeps pressing him to open up. Then there’s Donovan, the boy whose locker is next to Reese’s. Though he’s had a crush on Donovan since they first met, Reese can barely speak to the other boy without becoming flustered.
With a bit of scheming, Reese sets a plan in motion to get Donovan’s attention, but the results are bigger than he expected. There’s more to the dream than just getting the boy, and Reese isn’t sure if he’s stumbled into his greatest fantasy or yet another sinister nightmare.
What I Liked
The Dreams (The Falling)
The book portrays Reese’s insecurities and general concerns with life beautifully through this dream motif. The dream sequences are a great complement to the story, and are by far its greatest asset.
Characterisation, and the characters in general, are well fleshed out and unique in my eyes. Each person, be it Reese, Viv or Donovan, had their own personal attributes and personalities, which came across vividly.
What Let Me Down
Conflict and goal resolution are sometimes tricky things to incorporate into books and unfortunately, in my opinion, Falling as Usual did not meet the mark.
There are three points in this story where serious obstacles are encountered, and each time the end result is too simple or coincidental to be at all believable. In the end the book just felt too nice overall, glossing over, what should be, trying and difficult decisions, situations and themes. I can appreciate with a book with this length that it is difficult to pour a huge amount of realistic conflict resolution in, but a small amount should be expected.
While I liked the characters and overall theme of Falling as Usual I was eventually let down by the underlying lack of substance. The fact that this is only a shorter story does not make up for this, and I do expect that all facets of a story, once raised, are fully fleshed out and realised. Falling as Usual was enjoyable for me, despite the flaws, and I would definitely recommend it for a quick, cheap read.
“There was no way of knowing how things would go, but the summer was young. Reese was more than ready to take the plunge.”
This book was provided by Queerteen Press in return for an honest review.